Category Archives: LESSONS

Year End Holiday Sales 2019 Promotion

Category : LESSONS


As the end of 2019 approaches, it’s time to reflect on the ups and downs we’ve gone through this year. As time goes by, we hopefully get wiser and achieved more in our lives. This is also the time to celebrate with friends and families.

Most people will be buying gifts for those nearest and dearest to them to say thanks for being in their lives. Merchants such as yourself should now be gearing up your marketing campaigns to help these people find the perfect gifts for their loved ones.


Time to boost your marketing efforts

The end of the year is a joyous one of celebration and merrymaking. Giving gifts is also a tradition during this period. Put more effort into your marketing campaigns such as social media postings, email campaigns and online advertisements.

Investing in a massive promotional campaign will give you the chance to boost your revenue tremendously. Your efforts will be so worth it when someone finds the right gifts in your store. You’ve just helped your customer to bring happiness to their intended recipients.


Bulk plan promotion for our Year End Holiday Sales 2019

We want to complement your efforts to increase your ROI this holiday season. Cleaning your email marketing list before your mailing campaign is paramount since you are making sure that you only send emails to valid recipients. This means there is a higher chance that your recipients will open and read your marketing content if the emails can actually be delivered.

For our Year End Holiday Sales, when you buy any bulk plans, you will get an additional 50% credits for free. In other words, you should buy the bigger bulk plans as they will come with a greater amount of free credits. We understand that your mailing list could be huge. That’s why we are giving you this free 50% credits to help you achieve your marketing goals at a lower cost than usual.

This promotion will run from the 10th Dec 2019 till the 1st Jan 2020 (UTC time).

Check out our bulk plans.



In business, more is always better. More profits, more revenue, more customers, etc. Please take advantage of our promotion to gain more bulk validation credits than what you would normally get.

IELTS Speaking: Useful Sentences, Word-Groups, Phrases

Category : LESSONS

IELTS Speaking is one of the major hurdles on way to success for many of the candidates who wish to study in a foreign, english-speaking countries like Australia and others.

My English is good and I am good at writing too but when it comes to speaking, I have some fear. I do not do well.”

This is very common. There are many people who have a fear of speaking.

But, how this fear shall be overcome? The only solution is “Focus on Smart IELTS Preparation.” Of course, when you are prepared for it in advance, you will know what you are doing and you will not falter. That is the smartest trick.

So, how shall you prepare yourself for the IELTS speaking test?

It is important that you should first take yourself out of the shell of confusion and diffidence! Speak in the public. Do not be afraid of going wrong while speaking. When you speak and speak continuously, you develop the skills. Moreover, you will also feel confident in presenting yourself.

Preparation For IELTS Speaking Test

Preparation for the Speaking Test in IELTS can help you overcome your fear of speaking in front of the interviewer.

It is natural to feel a bit nervous but when you know you can perform well, you gain success.

Remember, there is nothing wrong in learning a few of the introductory phrases or some other useful phrases and sentences that you can supply while speaking to the interviewer.

You shall know how you are going to introduce yourself to the interviewer, what you will be talking about your friends or family members or about your city, if the interviewer need any info on the same.

When you want to express your views, suggestions or opinions, you can say as follows:

  • I would like to stress more on …

  • I would prefer …..

  • I believe that

  • I suppose it is

  • In my view

  • I am of the opinion

  • In my opinion

  • If you ask me, I would say

  • I think it is like

  • I feel it shall be

  • What I believe in and support is that

  • As I see it

  • Personally speaking

  • As far as I am concerned

  • If you ask me that,

How to introduce personal experiences?

You can introduce personal experiences as follows:

  • I remember,

  • I would like to talk about it. It has always been the best part of my memories

  • Oh, I can’t forget that day

  • That is the memorable experience in my life

  • Back when I was

  • One time, I was

  • As far as I remember

  • What happened was that

When you agree on something, you can say as follows:

  • I agree with you

  • I totally agree on this

  • You are absolutely right. That makes sense. I agree.

  • Absolutely, no doubt about it.

  • Precisely that.

  • Definitely

  • Absolutely that is what I wanted to say

When you disagree on anything, you say as follows:

  • I am sorry, I do not agree (I am afraid, I disagree with you on this)

  • I understand what you are saying but still, I feel that ……

  • That is not true.

  • It is not necessary but

  • I am afraid, I do not support this.

When you do not understand what the speaker is saying, feel free to ask. Following are some useful sentences that you can say:

  • I am sorry, I didn’t understand that.

  • I am afraid, I didn’t get that question.

  • Can you please, repeat that question for me?

  • Can you please, go over it again?

  • Can you explain your question?

  • What do you mean when you say………?

  • Can you say that again, please?

  • I am sorry, but can you rephrase that for me to help understand much better?

Want to get prepared for the IELTS?

Do not wait. Enroll for the IELTS Training Online? Get trained in IELTS online. Enroll for the most advanced IELTS preparation online.

Answered Questions of Living in the World of Four Senses

Category : LESSONS

Living in the World of Four Senses

Ans. 1. Every person remembers those persons who are affectionate to him during his childhood. He also remembers the pleasant and frolicsome episodes of this childhood.

Ans. 2. The author’s childhood was different from that of other children as he was having a prolonged sickness (Meningitis) so he went blind at the age of three, because of this he was deprived of all the sweet and pleasant things that a child loves and enjoys to do in his childhood.

Ans. 3. The author means to say that having no memories of seeing there was nothing to look back, nothing to miss.

Ans. 4. Author’s father wanted his transfer to Karnal because of friends and relatives, who came to sympathsize them which hurts them a lot so the wanted to live a peaceful and quiet life.

Ans. 5. In the beginning, it was tough for all the family members to have a blind person in their house and the only blind person the author’s parents have seen were began. Although the author was treated with great care and love after he turned blind.

Ans. 6. The author’s father himself being a doctor considered the treatment prescribed by hakims and pundits unscientific and irrelevant.

Ans. 7. When his mother used to shake her hand before him, putting switch on and off shows that the author developed a very keen sense of hearing.

Ans. 8. In the 1930s and 1940s in India, all blind people had turned to begging for their livelihood, or had become owners of Pan and Biri shops and spent their days rolling huts and condiments in a betel leaf or tobacco in a cigarette paper.

Ans. 9. The author was sent to Dadar school for Blind in Bombay that was nine hundred miles away from his home because his father knows that his staying at home would result in his father knew that his staying at home would result in his dependence on other family members. The author’s father further realized that his son would have difficulty in playing with normal children.

Best Attitude Status And Attitude Quotes In English For Success

Best Attitude Status And Attitude Quotes

It’s often questioned if a person’s attitude is predisposed or if it can be developed. Without question, attitudes are developed. Your attitude is a strong instrument for meaningful action. It’s inherently interwoven with everything you do. It’s your most precious possession. William James, the excellent psychologist cum philosopher, said,
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that people can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
One of the biggest understanding of our time, I can say, is that everyone has the ability to enhance the quality of their personal and professional life; however, they must first be prepared to obtain the abilities that will guide them to a place of self-discovery where they can tap into the strength of their positive attitude. You may not be able to alter your height or sort of body, but you may be able to modify your attitude. Each of us has the authority to create and sustain a positive attitude that works for us, enhancing the quality of our lives and enabling us to achieve our goals in life. Your attitude should be an indication of where you want to go in life and not a reflection of what you have been through. Change your attitude and you can alter your life!
Regardless of how old you are, your present position or station in life, gender, or marital status, a positive attitude can create an incredible difference in your life and other people’s lives. You will find out in the post that follows what attitude is, the strength of attitude, and how you reflect your attitude. You will learn to recognize that you can regulate your destiny by learning the stuff you need to do to remain positive even in the most challenging times. After reading this post, it will be easy for you to turn attitude into action and focus on the fundamental principles of self-development and personal growth.

Attitude Status in English

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to success is found in your daily routine.”
-John C. Maxwell

Attitude Status in English

“Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure.”


A = 1

T = 20

I = 9

D = 4

E = 5

T = 20

T = 20

U = 21

No matter what you do in life, if you have a positive attitude, you’ll always be 100 percent. According to our alphabet system, if you assign a numerical value to each letter (1–26), attitude will equal 100 percent.

What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.
— Alexander Graham Bell

A Definition Of Attitude

Think of your attitude as the mental filter through which you experience the world. Some people see the world through the filter of optimism (the glass being half full) while others see life through a filter of pessimism (the glass being half empty). Let me give you some examples to explain the difference between a positive attitude and a negative attitude.

Think of your attitude as the mental filter you experience the world through. Some individuals see the world through the optimism filter (the glass is half complete) while others see life through a pessimism filter (the glass is half empty). Let me give you examples of the distinction between a positive attitude and a negative attitude.

  • The person with the negative attitude believes that “I CAN’T.”
  • The person with the positive attitude thinks that “I CAN.”
  • The person with the negative attitude dwells on problems.
  • The person with the positive attitude concentrates on solutions.
  • The person with the negative attitude finds fault with others.
  • The person with the positive attitude looks for the good in others.
  • The person with the negative attitude focuses on what’s missing.
  • The person with the positive attitude counts his or her blessings.
  • The person with the negative attitude sees limitations.
  • The person with the positive attitude sees possibilities.
  • I could go on and on with examples, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Attitude Status

Attitude Image

Your attitude is your window to the world.

A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.

— Hugh Downs

The key to having a good attitude is the willingness to change.

Attitude . . .

  • It is the “advance man” of our true selves.
  • Its roots are inward but its fruit is outward.
  • It is our best friend or our worst enemy.
  • It is more honest and more consistent than our words.
  • It is an outward look based on past experiences.
  • It is a thing which draws people to us or repels them.
  • It is never content until it is expressed.
  • It is the librarian of our past.
  • It is the speaker of our present.
  • It is the prophet of our future.

Attitude is really about how a person is that overflows into how he acts.

When confronted with a difficult situation, a person with an outstanding attitude makes the best of it while he gets the worst of it.

Identify through self-awareness the attitudes that hold you back or propel you forward.

There are two great moments in a person’s life. The first is when you are born. The second is when you discover why you were born.


Why settle for so little in life when you can have so much, just by daring to be different in your thinking.
— C A T H E R I N E P O N D E R

You have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Only the limits of our mind-set can determine the boundaries of our future.


Remember that your real wealth is measured not by what you have, not by where you are, but by the spirit that lives within you.


“If you know what you want, you are more apt to recognize it when you see it. When you read a book, for example, you will recognize opportunities to help you get what you want.”


Don’t forget, the best coach with the strongest power over your performance is the coach that lives within you.


The people you allow to embrace your life ultimately have the greatest impact on your attitude.


You are successful when you remember that somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a gift. That gift is what started you in the right direction. Remember that you are blessed when you pass that gift on to help someone else.


Fear cannot scare a person who is at peace with God. There is no room, opportunity, or place for fear in such a person. Remember, you must have faith.


The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.

—William James


You are not what you think you are.
But what you think YOU ARE!


Never underestimate your power to change yourself.

—H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


Think, act and talk with enthusiasm and you ‘ll attract positive results.

—Michael LeBoeuf


Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success.

— Dr. Joyce Brothers


Your Attitude Is Your Window to the World.


Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.

— George Bernard Shaw


Attitudes are a secret power working 24 hours a day, for good or bad.

— Unknown


Nurture your mind with great thoughts.

— Benjamin Disraeli


You must first clearly see a thing in your mind before you can do it.

— Alex Morrison


Imagination is more important than knowledge.

— Albert Einstein


Vision is the art of seeing things invisible to others.

— Jonathan Swift


Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.

— Napoleon Hill


The things which hurt, instruct.

— Benjamin Frankli


Repeat anything often enough and it will start to become you.

— Tom Hopkins


Your day goes the way the corners of your mouth turn.

— Unknown


A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.


Nothing happens by itself. It all will come your way once you understand that you have to make it come your way, by your own exertions.

— Ben Stein


A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.

—The Living Bible, Proverbs 27


Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.

— Henry Ford


You can get everything in life you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.

—Zig Ziglar


To change your circumstances, first, start thinking differently.

—Norman Vincent Peale N


A positive attitude is a person’s passport to a better tomorrow.



Major premise: We can control our thoughts.

Minor premise: Our feelings come from our thoughts.

Conclusion: We can control our feelings by learning to change how we think.

The following steps will assist you in changing bad habits into good ones:

Step #1: List your bad habits.

Step #2: What was the original cause?

Step #3: What are the supporting causes?

Step #4: Determine a positive habit to replace the bad one.

Step #5: Think about the good habit, its benefits, and results.

Step #6: Take action to develop this habit.

Step #7: Daily act upon this habit for reinforcement.

Step #8: Reward yourself by noting one of the benefits from your good habit.




Every successful person is someone who failed, yet never regarded himself as a failure.

Success is . . .

Knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential and sowing seeds that benefit others.


Leaders have to give up to go up.


Attitude Tune-Up

• Count your blessings daily, and give thanks.

• Get proper rest and exercise, and start eating healthier.

• Do not let petty office or school politics have power over your personal or professional success. Monitor what you hear, what you read, and what you say.

• Set aside personal time with family and close friends.

• Help someone less fortunate. It brings out your true spirit.

• Feed your spirit daily; read and listen to motivational books and tapes.

• Discover the motives that motivate you, and remember, motivation is not permanent.

• Reflect on your victories—things you’ve forgotten that were special. Rekindle the fire that helps you turn your attitude into action.

• Watch Your Words. They are powerful. Practice WOW by speaking encouraging, life-affirming words to others.

• Create an upbeat, positive greeting that builds enthusiasm for you and everyone around you.

• Develop a clear vision, lock into your purpose and passion, and set goals with deadlines.

The key to success is working persistently toward specific objectives under your own power. When necessary, you prove that you can count on nobody but yourself. Success means progressing from what is acceptable to what is excellent. It seldom comes easy.

Excellence is usually the result of a long, tough apprenticeship. To increase the odds that hard work achieves your goals, these personal attributes are essential:

Self-esteem. Unless you regard yourself as a valuable individual, a worthy and capable human being, there’s little chance you’ll be able to change or control the conditions and opportunities presented.

Responsibility. You hold yourself strictly accountable for what happens in your life. You willingly assume full responsibility for the events that result in either success or failure.

Optimism. To be successful, you must understand clearly that there are situations beyond the scope of your capabilities—but not expect defeat. Those who are successful feel good about themselves, have confidence in the future and work productively in the present.

Steady Progress. Measure success step by step. Success-oriented individuals keep their goals before them constantly. Not only do goals measure progress, but they also serve to motivate and direct future behavior.

Imagination. Without imagination, you can’t visualize what it might be like to experience exciting new and beneficial ventures before they occur. Successful people use their imaginations constantly and creatively, testing ideas in the light of possibilities.

Awareness. You must always be aware of what is going on around you. People succeed because they are curious. Their eyes are always open to new opportunities.

Creativity. Loosen up. Think out of the box. Successful people make a habit of looking at problems, situations, and opportunities from different vantage points. They constantly ask, “Why is this so? What makes it different? When did it happen? Who will benefit most from change or a new direction?”

Attitude Quotes

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”


A positive attitude also ignites the drive to excel in yourself and those around you. You can stimulate this drive to grow and accomplish when you:

• Implement ideas, whether your own or ideas from others, by harnessing them in practical ways.

• Accept responsibility.

• Make critical decisions with minimal personal agony.

• Emphasize facts over opinions. You should always first gather the facts, and then interpret them when you are solving a problem or seizing an opportunity.

• Be a master of communication. Others will feel free to talk with you because they know that when they have something to say to you, you will be receptive.

• Confirm that others’ jobs and ideas are important.


Let’s look for a moment at how a positive attitude influences successful leaders.

• They have high frustration tolerance.

• They encourage participation by others.

• They continually question themselves.

• They are cleanly competitive.

• They control impulses to get even.

• They win without exulting.

• They lose without moping.

• They recognize legal, ethical, and moral restrictions.

• They are conscious of group loyalties.

• They have realistic goals.

There will be times when you must come to the realization that you, yourself, are the problem. When this happens, these tips will help:

1. Put your negative attitudes in focus. “If I keep this up, where will it lead?”

2. Laugh. There’s no question that laughter is good medicine.

3. Accept setbacks and failures as part of life, but keep in mind that a positive attitude may lessen the length and severity of problems.

4. Talk calmly to yourself when you are upset. This can greatly lower your stress level. Take time to unwind. Have lunch away from your work on a stressful day to recharge.

5. Talk positively to yourself when you feel down.

6. Examine your priorities and goals. Are they yours or the expectations of others?

7. Simplify everything you can.

8. Don’t let small problems get bigger.

9. Get more involved with family and friends. Keep close ties with people who enhance life’s good times and to buffer the bad. Try to put as much thought and energy into making your relationships work as you put into your job.

10. Brainstorm positive alternatives with others. What could have been said or done to indicate a more positive or constructive approach?


“Success or failure in business is caused more by mental attitude than by mental capacities.”


Unfortunately, we overlook the relationship between attitude and effectiveness. Your effectiveness, especially if you are a supervisor or manager or in any kind of a leadership position, is judged in large part by how your attitude has influenced the results achieved. Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself.

• What is the factual evidence that you really want people who report to you to succeed?

• What is the evidence that you allocate an adequate amount of time to plan with them? To think ahead? Provide needed resources?

• What is the evidence that you’ll be calm in a crisis or emergency when others are behaving irrationally? Losing your cool or having a temper tantrum will affect how they react to you.

• What is the evidence that you encourage calculated risk, but avoid shooting the messengers of bad news? If that’s the way you consistently behave, it’s going to be pretty tough to find people willing to be messengers.

• What is the evidence that you can disagree without being disagreeable?

• What is the evidence that you do not flaunt the symbols of status and power and privilege, which may yield fear, isolation, and suspicion?

• What is the evidence that you negotiate objectives to make them stretching, yet realistic and attainable? Can you negotiate rather than order? Can you coach rather than direct?

• What is the evidence that you are rarely surprised, and can quickly find out what you need to know? It’s not important that you know everything that you need to know exactly when it’s needed, but it’s absolutely essential that surprises be minimized and you know where to get pertinent information.

• What is the evidence that you can simplify rather than complicate issues? Are you usually understood?

How often do people come back to you and say,

“I didn’t understand that. What did you really mean?”

• What is the evidence that you will encourage dissenting points of view to arrive at a better decision? It is said that when Alfred Sloan, the legendary chairman of the General Motors board of directors, counted a unanimous vote on a subject he would say, “I’m uneasy with that conclusion. We will adjourn and reconvene in the morning. There must be more to this than we currently see.”

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1. Attitude Is Everything

10 Life-Changing Steps

to Turning Attitude into Action




Roger Fritz

3. Attitude 101
Dr. Maxwell




The author is looking out of the window. He was watching the beauties of nature. The rain had just stopped and drops of water dripping from plants. The kids were playing and making a lot of noise. Just then his daughter Munni came running up to him and asked him to come and see the swing of gudda – guddi. She pointed towards the rainbow in the sky. She told her father that she wants a swing of her own. The author told her to take the one in the sky which she refused. The author was lost in his own thoughts. He remembered how his grandmother had told her about the gudda – guddi. She had told him that he was a gudda and a guddi would come into his life. The guddi came in the form of his wife. She too had the same dreams as him. But life proved to be very tough for both of them. They with their four children found it difficult to cope up with his limited salary. The author often quarreled with his wife. This time round they also quarreled. The wife hurled choicest abuses at him and he left his home in anger.

The author returned home late at night. He took his meal outside and spent the afternoon in a cinema hall. The children had slept and his wife was waiting for him. She brought a Thali for him. She seemed to be normal. But the author insisted that he would not eat. But his wife insisted that he should eat or else she too will go hungry. She held his arm and the author had to oblige. He forced a morsel into her mouth. They laughed together. The next day the children told each other that their parents had reconciled and the swing of guddh and guddi was brighter that day.


awning: a canvas supported by a frame to give protection against the weather
barely: almost not
oblivious: not aware of something
splendiferous: splendid; grand in appearance
musings: thoughts
convolutions: twists; (here) troubles, difficulties
hues: colours
tiff: a slight argument

brewing: about to happen
cherish: to love, care and protect good riddance: used to express happiness that someone or something unwanted has gone.

hauteur: excessive pride
awry: not right
well-to-do: rich, prosperous
remonstrate: to argue in protest
fortification: defence
breach: to break through
incarnation: human form

Q. 1. Working with the Text

(A) Answer the following questions.

1. What did the narrator observe when he looked out?
Ans. He observed the beauties of nature. He observed how the drops of water were dripping and sliding down the plants. He paid great attention to the raindrops.

2. Why was the narrator unable to pay attention to what his daughter was saying?

Ans. The narrator was lost in his own thoughts and thus was unable to pay attention to what his daughter was saying.

3. Why did the narrator have a tiff with his wife?

Ans. The family was hard up. The expenses had increased and the limited salary was insufficient for them to live a good life. The wife kept reminding the narrator of their poverty. This irritated him and he had a tiff with her.

4. What did the narrator find when he returned home late at night?
Ans. When the narrator returned the kids had gone to sleep. The wife was sitting all by herself. She had not eaten since morning and was waiting for her husband.

5. Why did the narrator not have an appetite?

Ans. The narrator had taken his lunch with his friends and thus had no appetite for more.

(B) The following phrases, phrasal verbs, and idioms occur in the text. Find the sentences in which they occur.

burst into laughter, close by, looked at, cope with, wan and weak, all by herself, feel homesick, grown-up, in a huff, lost sight of, get up, got fed up with, picked up, hard up

(C) There are many Hindi words used in the story. List those Hindi words and write them in the space provided.


Gudda –guddi

Buddtic Prakash



Language Work


Binomials are expressions (often idiomatic) where two words are joined by a conjunction (usually ‘and’). The order of the words is usually fixed. It is best to use them only in informal situations, with one or two exceptions.

Odds and Ends: Small, unimportant things, e.g.: Let’s get the main things packed; we can do the odds and ends later.

Give and take: a spirit of compromise, e.g.: Every relationship needs a bit of give and take to be successful.

Here are some jumbled binomials. Using similarities in sound, join them with ‘and’. Then check a dictionary that you have the right word order.

prim all high safe rough bread butter dry tough sundry proper sound

Ans. Prim and proper; all and sundry; high and dry; safe and sound; rough and tough; bread and butter.

Ans. Law and order; now and then; hit and trial; clean and tidy; pick and choose.

The following binomials do not have and in the middle. What do they have? Check-in a dictionary if you are not sure.

1. Sooner …………………later

2. All ……………………..nothing

3. Back ………………….. white

4. Sink ………………….. swim

5. Slowly ……………….. surely

6. Make ………………… break

Ans. (1) Or; (2) For; (3) and; (4) or; (5) but; (6) or. Use the following binomials in your own sentences:
part and parcel
pick and choose
leaps and bounds
peace and tide
first and foremost
here and there
on and off
to and fro
ladies and gentlemen
black and white
sooner or later
hot and cold

Ans. Self Grammar Work

Question tags (Do you? Isn’t it? etc.)

Put a question tag at the end of the following sentences. The first two have been done for you.

1. Tom won’t be late, will he?

2. You’re tired, aren’t you?

3. You’ve got a camera, haven’t you?

4. You weren’t listening, were you?

5. She doesn’t know Aneeka, does she?

6. Mubashir is on holiday, isn’t he?

7. Ram’s applied for a job, hasn’t he?

8. You can speak Dogri, can’t you?

9. He won’t mind if I use his phone, would he?

10. There are a lot of people here, aren’t here?

11. Let’s go out tonight, should we?

12. This isn’t very interesting, is it?

13. I’m too impatient, aren’t I?

14. You wouldn’t tell anyone, would you?

15. You wouldn’t listen, would you?

16. I shouldn’t have lost my temper, should I?

17. Don’t drop that vase, will you?

18. You’d never met me before, had you?

A Shocking Accident by Graham Greene: Summary, Plot, Setting, Character, Theme and Solved Questions

A Shocking Accident by Graham Greene

About the story: A Shocking Accident was published in 1967 in the collection of stories May We Borrow Your Husband?. It was later made into a film which
won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 1983.

Background information

In the story, Jerome, the main character, attends a ‘preparatory’ or ‘prep’ school. This is an independent school for children aged between 7 or 8, and 11 or 13, and is often a boarding school where the pupils live.

In these schools, students are often divided into groups. Each group has its own teams and activities. The groups are called ‘houses’, and each one has its own master, a teacher who manages the students and events in the house. Jerome’s housemaster is Mr. Wordsworth.

In the second part of the story, Jerome is older and he attends a ‘public school’, which in the UK is, traditionally a single-sex boarding school, most of which were established in the 18th or 19th centuries


Greene often wrote about his travels in some of the world’s most remote and troubled places. In contrast, Jerome’s father is a writer who seems to travel mainly in Mediterranean countries. His books are given unadventurous titles, such as Sunshine and Shade, Rambles in the Balearics, and Nooks and Crannies — suggesting, perhaps, that Jerome’s father does not take risks. This makes the way he dies even more ‘shocking’.

We learn that often, ‘after an author’s death’, people write to the Times Literary Supplement expressing an interest in personal letters and stories about the writer’s life. Greene tells us that most of these ‘biographies’ are never written and suggests that perhaps some of the more scandalous details are used as ‘blackmail, that is — by threatening to reveal damaging information about someone. It is quite possible that Greene himself saw some examples of this type of behaviour.

Summary of A Shocking Accident

Jerome, a young boy at a boarding school in England, is called one day to his housemaster’s study. The housemaster tells him that his father, a travel writer, has died in Naples, Italy, as the result of a pig falling on him from a balcony.

As Jerome grows up, his father’s death becomes a source of embarrassment to him. He mentally prepares different ways of telling the story in case anyone is interested in the future in writing his father’s biography.

Jerome becomes engaged to Sally, a doctor’s daughter. He realises that she will find out about his father’s death when she meets his aunt, with whom he has been living. He tries to tell her himself before the visit takes place, but all his attempts fail. A week before the wedding, Sally meets Jerome’s aunt who tells her what happened to his father. Jerome is full of apprehension: what will Sally’s reaction be?

Sally is the first person who responds with the proper annoyance and grieving. Jerome has consistently felt the story requires, thus he falls promptly enamored with her.

Main themes

Before you read the story, you may want to think about some of its main themes. The questions will help you think about the story as you’re reading it for the first time. There is more discussion of the main themes in the Literary analysis section after the story.

Father-and-son relationships

It is interesting to see how Jerome’s attitude to his father changes as he grows older. As a young boy, he idolises and romanticises him, imagining that he leads an exciting and dangerous life as an agent for the British Secret Service. He is sure that his death has been the result of a gun fight.

Later, at public school, he is teased by the other boys when they learn how Jerome’s father died. By now, he knows his father was a travel writer rather than a secret agent. He accepts this, however, and cherishes the memory of his father and wants to keep it alive.

As a young man, he feels sympathy and quiet love for his father. It is essential to him that the girl he loves understands his feelings.

Reactions to death

Different cultures react to death in different ways. It is not rational that death from a falling pig should cause amusement. Nevertheless, in the story, most people who are not related to the person involved, find something comical in the event. Convention tells us that we should receive news of death with sympathy and seriousness but the housemaster, Jerome’s schoolmates, and strangers find it difficult to react in the conventional way. Because the cause of death is so unusual and unexpected, it makes people react in unusual and unexpected ways.

Understanding The Story

Q. 1 Is Jerome afraid when he is called into the housemaster’s room? Why/why not?

Answer: No, because he was a warden – a position given to approved, reliable boys.
Q. 2 Who has telephoned the school? Why?

Answer: Jerome’s aunt.
Q. 3 What are Jerome’s feelings for his father? What does he think his father does?

Answer: Jerome adores his father. He thinks that he is a gun runner or a member of the British Secret Service.

Q.4 How does Jerome imagine that his father has died?

Answer: He thinks he has been shot.
Q.5 How does Mr. Wordsworth react when he tells Jerome how his father died? Greene writes that the housemaster shook with emotion. What kind of emotion do you think Wordsworth is feeling?

Answer: He finds it hard not to laugh. The emotion he feels is probably suppressed amusement.

Q. 6 Does Jerome show a lot of emotion when he hears about his father’s death?

Answer: No, he doesn’t.
Q. 7 When does Jerome realise that other people find his father’s death comical?

Answer: When he first goes to public school.
Q. 8 Why has Jerome got so many postcards? Does he remember his father with love?

Answer: His father sent him postcards from different places. He loved the memory of his father.
Q. 9 Why is it terrible for Jerome to listen to his aunt telling other people about his father’s death?
Answer: People are only interested in his aunt’s story when she tells them about the pig and Jerome hates to see this interest.
Q. 10 Is it likely that anyone in the literary world will ask Jerome for details about his father’s life? Why/why not?

Answer: It is unlikely because his father had not been a very distinguished writer.
Q. 11 Is Jerome aware of his father’s position in the literary world?

Answer: No, because he has no contact with the literary world.
Q. 12 How many explanations of his father’s death has Jerome prepared for other people? Are the explanations very different?

Answer: He prepared two accounts: one leads gradually up to his father’s death; the other says simply that his father was killed by a pig.
Q.13 How would you describe the relationship between Jerome and sally?

Answer: Contented, conventional.
Q. 14 What is Jerome afraid of with regard to Sally and his father?

Answer: He is afraid that Sally will laugh when she hears about his father and he wants to protect his father’s memory.
Q. 15 Why does Jerome long to leave the room when Sally is talking to his aunt?

Answer: He does not want to see Sally’s reaction when his aunt tells her about his father.
Q.16 What is the miracle and why does Jerome’s heart sing with joy?

Answer: The miracle is that Sally is horrified when she learns about Jerome’s father. Jerome is pleased and relieved.
Q. 17 Does the story have a happy ending?

Answer: Yes. Jerome and Sally’s future will probably be a happy one.

Understanding The Story. (Literary analysis)

1 Use these questions to help you check that you have understood the story.


Q.1 What is the shocking accident in the story? How do most people feel when they hear about it? How do you think you would react?

Answer: The shocking accident refers to when the pig fell from the balcony and killed Jerome’s father. Most people are interested and amused.
Q.2 How old is Jerome when his father dies? Do you think this affects Jerome’s reactions?

Answer: He is nine. Because he is young, death is something of a mystery to him. He does not find anything
comic in it.
Q.3 How old is Jerome when the story finishes? How has the manner of his father’s death affected him during his life?

Answer: Jerome has reached adulthood, since he is working, and is engaged to be married. All his life, he has been afraid of people’s reactions to the way his father died.

Q. 4 How many accounts are there in the story of Jerome’s father’s death? Think about Mr. Wordsworth, Jerome, and his aunt.

Answer: Mr. Wordsworth tells Jerome, Jerome tells other people, either very briefly or in a more elaborate way.

He tells Sally his father had a street accident. His Aunt has a complicated way of telling the story to strangers. The account she gives Sally is uncharacteristically abrupt.

Q. 5 How are the accounts of the death different? Who finds it difficult to tell the story? Who finds it easier? Why?

Answer: Mr. Wordsworth is perhaps embarrassed but also amused. Jerome finds it painful. His aunt is less worried because she has no sense of humour.
Q. 6 How do you think Jerome would have felt if Sally had laughed at his aunt’s story? Would the story have ended differently?

Answer: Jerome would probably have felt disappointed. He wonders whether this quiet love of his would survive if Sally were to laugh; he might have ended the relationship in this case.

Q.7 This story was made into a short film. What changes do you think were made? Think about characters, setting, and plot.

Answer: Certain scenes would have to be more explicit, for example, the reactions of other boys at Jerome’s public school, and the discussion of Jerome’s behaviour among his teachers. Perhaps there would have been a scene where Jerome meets Sally for the first time.


Q. 8 How would you describe Jerome’s father? How does he change in Jerome’s eyes as the boy grows older?

Answer: He is a rather sad figure, widowed, restless and a second-rate writer. In Jerome’s eyes, he changes from a mysterious, adventurous figure into an ordinary man with problems. However, Jerome feels strong affection for him.

Q. 9 What kind of person is Jerome? Do you think he is like his father?

Answer: Jerome is possibly a rather unimaginative person. He seems to want an ordinary life, with a respectable job and a conventional marriage. He may be even less adventurous than his father.

Q. 10 How would you describe Jerome’s aunt? What does she think of her brother? Give evidence for your answer.
Answer: Jerome’s aunt is very fond of her brother; she misses him and believes him to have been a better writer and a more glamorous person than he was. She sees nothing amusing in the form of his death and is not embarrassed to tell total strangers what happened. She has probably not travelled much and regards other countries with suspicion.

Q. 11 What kind of person is Sally? Do you think she and Jerome are suited to each other?

Answer: Sally is the right age for Jerome, pleasant, respectable (a doctor’s daughter) and likes children. The author suggests that she is boring, similar to Jerome and that they are well suited.

Q.12 Do you think the type of schooling that Jerome receives affects his character or attitudes? How?

Answer: Jerome’s desire for conventionality and conformity may have been encouraged by his schooling.

Independent schools in the mid-19th century in Britain were single-sex and did not encourage displays of emotion. The pupils were expected to control their feelings and use work and sport to keep them healthy and well-balanced.


Q. 13 What do you think Greene’s attitude is to his characters? Do you think he identifies with some characters more than others? If so, which?

Answer: Greene stands outside of his characters and observes them from a distance. It is possible that he

identifies a little with Mr. Wordsworth as he describes the headmaster’s dilemma with sympathy and humour.
Q. 14 Do you think Greene is a sympathetic narrator or a cynical observer of human nature?

Answer: He is rather cynical. All of his characters are caricatures to a certain extent. He is quite rude about his characters’ tastes (Sally likes reading family sagas and was given a doll that made water).

Q. 15 Why do you think Greene makes Jerome a chartered accountant and Sally a doctor’s daughter who adored babies? How do these details contrast with the main event at the centre of the story?

Answer: A chartered accountant is a respectable profession but was considered boring and ‘safe’, especially by writers and other creative people. Sally is a doctor’s daughter and predictable – she likes babies. These normal, harmless details contrast horribly with the violent and absurd manner of Jerome’s father’s death.

Q. 16 Do you think Greene succeeds in making us feel sympathy towards Jerome? How?

Answer: We feel sympathy for Jerome because he is left an orphan at nine, and then has to deal with the unkind remarks of his teenage friends. Despite everything, he is loyal to his father’s memory and desperately wants his future wife to love his memory too.


Q. 17 How would you describe the atmosphere of the story? Are any of the following adjectives appropriate?

amusing bizarre absurd sad cynical well-observed true-to-life unrealistic

Can you think of any more adjectives?

Answer: Student’s own answer.

Q. 18 Are people’s reactions to the pig incident understandable?

Why/why not?

Answer: People’s reactions are understandable if sometimes cruel. It is unusual for a person to die in such a way and people find it difficult to know how to react. A lot of their amusement is caused by embarrassment.

Q. 19 Is the story believable or is it exaggerated? Explain your answer.

Answer: It may be exaggerated. It is important to try and understand the cultural background of the story and Greene’s ironic stance.


Q. 20 Look again at the first paragraph of the story [page 81] and the beginning of the conversation between Mr. Wordsworth and Jerome. Notice how Greene obtains a comic effect by using both long, formal sentences and short, spoken sentences. Find more examples of this kind of narrative in the story.

Answer: More examples:

‘Nobody shot him, Jerome. A pig fell on him.’ An inexplicable convulsion took place in the nerves of Mr. Wordsworth’s face; it really looked for a moment as though he were going to laugh. Mr. Wordsworth left his desk rapidly and went to the window, turning his back on Jerome.

Jerome said, ‘What happened to the pig?’

Q. 21 Look at the aunt’s question [refer text] ending but who could possibly have expected when he was walking along the Via Dottore Manuele Panucci on his way to the Hydrographic Museum that a pig would fall on him?’ What effect do the details of the place have? Can you find other places where unnecessary detail is given? What effect does it have?
Answer: These details make the account more real but also more comical. The name of the street and the museum are largely irrelevant.

The aunt also gives irrelevant detail about her brother’s water filter. Jerome gives lots of irrelevant detail about the tenement blocks in Naples in his rambling account of his father’s death.

22 Wordsworth’s question, ‘All going well with the trigonometry ?’
[page 81] is absurd in the circumstances — so inappropriate that it is funny. It shows how difficult Mr. Wordsworth finds it to tell Jerome of his father’s death, and how uncomfortable he is in this situation.

What other questions are there which create a comic effect?

Answer: Some other such questions are:

Did they shoot him through the heart?

i. ‘What happened to the pig?’

ii. ‘Was your father keen on polo?’

iii. ‘I was wondering,’ Sally said, ‘what happened to the poor pig?’

23 Culturally, the English are known for their use of understatement. For example, they might say ‘It was rather cold’ when they really mean ‘It was absolutely freezing!’ Greene is very ‘English’ in this respect. Look at these examples of understatement from the story. Naturally, after that disclosure he was known, rather unreasonably, as

Pig. (It was a very unreasonable and cruel nickname.) Jerome’s father had not been a very distinguished writer. (He had been a bad writer.)

Can you find any more examples of understatement in the story?

i. ‘Your father has had an accident.’

ii. ‘A shocking accident.’

Q. 24 Greene often uses irony in his writing — a form of humour where the literal meaning is the opposite of the actual meaning, it can sound as though you are being serious, but actually you are being sarcastic. Notice below, how he describes Jerome’s profession and how it affects his relationship with Sally.

In course of time, neither too early nor too late, rather as though, in his capacity as a chartered accountant, Jerome had studied statistics and taken the average, he became engaged to be married. Their relationship was contented rather than exciting, as became thelove affair of a chartered accountant; it would never have done if it had interfered with the figures.

Answer: The description suggests a practical, unromantic attitude to love and marriage. Greene seems to be saying that chartered accountants tend to behave in this way and are rather dull. He could have written: Jerome, doing everything by the book, became engaged to be married at just the right time of his life.



It is rightly said that corruption is a worldwide phenomenon. It is one of the gravest vices in the world. It has spread and taken its roots deep into every society. Even if we admit that corruption is a worldwide phenomenon, yet we have to agree that in India probably it has crossed all conceivable limits. Corruption is there right from the peon level to the level of the highest officers. The politicians are probably the most infected people.

Corruption is a major obstacle in the progress and advancement of societies. It has made useless the sweet dreams and ideal ideologies of philosophers and thinkers to create economically and socially just societies. Wealth has got alarmingly accumulated in the hands of corrupt people. The resources of a country that are primarily meant to bring prosperity to the society and the nation as a whole are used by the corrupt people to promote their own interests.

The main responsibility of the corruption lies with the governmental machinery. You can not think of moving a file from one table to another until it has wings of silver attached to it. Every locker in a government or semi-government department opens only with a silver key. To the regret of humanity, all this goes undaunted. People in authority suck the blood of the poor and needy openly and there is nobody to make them accountable. It is a strange logic that at times if a poor man is caught while giving small amounts as a bribe, he is punished but those who offer and take hefty sums hardly get exposed.

Corruption a menace

This sorry state of affairs has given birth to an alarming disorder and injustice. Corrupt people at the helm of affairs have made the things go inversely. Illiterates get jobs while qualified perish disappointed.

The rich, under such circumstances, are growing richer and the poor becoming poorer.

Corruption is evil with many heads. When one head is cut, a new head emerges and we have to grapple with this new one. The common people simply feel baffled and helpless.

However, if we have a firm determination, we can certainly overcome this menace rather sooner than later.



Games and sports are a good source of amusement. People have always sought rescue in games and sports to escape dullness and monotony. They provide us a time to forget our worries and get lost in great pleasure.

I am a fan of cricket and hardly miss watching an important match local, national or international.

Last Saturday a one-day cricket match of 50 overs was played between two reputed teams of Kashmir YCC and BCC in Srinagar at Bakshi Stadium. A large number of spectators had come to witness the match.

The match started at 10:00 am. The captain of YCC cricket team won the toss and elected to bat first. The opening pair started confidently but cautiously. They had scored 32 runs when there was a bowling change. The slow bowling with a lot of swing on a green-top wicket proved disastrous for YCC. In his very first over the slow bowler dismissed both the openers. The middle-order could not resist well his in and outswingers. He claimed two more wickets in his first spell. However, the captain played an anchor role and continued to score fearlessly. Though his partners left him at intervals, he managed to bat to the end. He was 85 not out when the last wicket fell at 198, at the end of 48th over.

BCC started at a rather slow pace. However, runs started coming once the opening pair settled well. They scored 50 runs in the first fifteen overs. In the next five overs, they hit 30 runs. Soon after the spinners were brought in, they managed to move the ball and checked the flow of runs. It made the batsmen impatient and they started hitting the ball desperately. They started losing wickets and at one occasion slumped to 125 for seven. They needed 74 runs in the last 14 fourteen overs with only three wickets in hand. The vice-captain showed courage, skill, and aggression. He hit twenty runs in 38th over with 2 sixes and 2 fours. There was a bowling change which again proved disastrous and the hitter was clean bowled. With two wickets in hand BCC still needed 36 runs in 36 balls. In the next two overs, they scored 13 runs. At this stage, the 9th wicket fell.

In the last over they had to score eight runs to win. They scored five runs off the first five balls. Now the last ball had to be bowled –one wicket for YCC and three runs by BCC was the victory target. There was extreme sensation all around. The bowler of YCC team came racing and bowled a ball of 150km speed. It took a lucky edge and crossed the fence giving a brilliant victory to BCC.

Both the teams were given warm applause for their struggle and brilliant performance. I really enjoyed the match very much.


Cinema is a wonderful means of entertainment and instruction. It is a part and parcel of mass media. Nevertheless, it has got the negative aspect that unfortunately is awfully dominant now. Undoubtedly, cinema is the greatest source of entertainment. It is an effective medium of overcoming boredom and anxiety, especially in urban areas where life is dull and tenser. Children, as well as elders, are similarly fond of the cinema shows. Of course, they often remain glued to the idiot box in their houses.

The cinema (especially T.V channels) shows a multiplicity of programs. These programs reflex various themes social, economic, political, judicial, etc. It shapes the opinion and outlook of the masses to form a just social structure. It helps us to peep into the past with a right and judicious perspective.

It has a great educative value. However, it has now made a very negative shift from constructive to destructive. Prostitution, violence, dacoity, smuggling, quarreling, exploitation, sexy scenes which are often not related to the main topic, have become the hallmarks of the modern cinema. Consequently, it has gradually shrunk our social, cultural and moral fabric and replaced it by the hateful western immodesty. The nakedness and ultra-modern fashions are flooding and damaging our own values.

The craze for western culture and the blind imitation of their cultural values has pushed our youth off the modest righteous track. The evils, so far unknown to the East, are now rampant everywhere here. The cinema in itself is a boon if it is not used for evil purposes or promoting vices, nakedness, and immodesty. It should be used to promote our own cultural values and moral standards. It should raise our favourite social structure to the climax and not raze it to the dust.

Air Pollution Essay

Air Pollution Essay

Pollution is the contamination of earth‘s environment with materials that interface with human health, the quality of life or the natural functioning of the ecosystem. Although some environmental pollution result of natural cause such as volcanic eruption, most are caused by human activities. Air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution are some of its major types.

Air pollution is a worldwide problem. It is the introduction of harmful substances or products into the environment which can occur naturally or artificially. Air pollution is a dangerous threat caused by many different productions such as car exhaust, nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2, No3) and sulphur oxide (SO2)

The first major cause of air pollution in car exhaust about which lead to about 45% to 50% of the total air pollution. It is formed due to the production of unburned fuel in the form of oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons. These black gases produced by automobiles and industries may cause many health problems, such as asthma or in extreme cases, could eventually lead to difficulty in breathing. One of the hydrocarbons produced in carbon monoxide (CO) which is one of the most dangerous gases resulting in many health problems. It also affects children mostly by making them handicapped as it affects young people‘s brains. The second major cause of air pollution is nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxide is one of the harmful gases which is produced into the atmosphere due to various human activities like burning of fuel. NO is very dangerous when combined with rainwater, it forms nitrogen trioxide (NO3) which is acidic and causes a change in the soil pH.

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) also adds to air pollution. It is emitted due to the burning of sulfur-containing fuels such as coal, fossil fuels, etc. Exposure to high concentration SO2 may result in different breathing problems.

Besides these harmful gases increasing the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) is also posing a threat to life as it causes greenhouse effect which has resulted in global warming.

Finally, the causes of air pollution can be many to name, but many of them can be reduced by humans by reducing the activities which produce these harmful gases.

My Last Duchess: Summary, Analysis, Literary Devices, Style and Questions and Quiz

My Last Duchess

Introduction: The dramatic monologue “My Last Duchess’ is regarded as the best dramatic monologue in the whole range of English Literature. The speaker is the Duke of Ferrara, an important city and cultural center of Italy. The spirit of Renaissance, its intrigues, its sensuality, its greed, and cultural qualities are presented in it.

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Summary of My Last Duchess

In the parlance of an Italian Duke, who is the speaker in this short but vivid piece, had come the envoy of a count whose daughter he was negotiating to marry. The Duke was a widower, and taking his guest round the family portrait gallery, he paused before the portrait of his last Duchess and drew aside the curtain. He began to comment on the picture.

It was a fine portrait, so beautifully executed, that the form of his wife came to live in it.

Friar Pandolf who painted it had spent a lot of time and labour over that masterpiece.

At once, the Duke turned to inform his guest that he had deliberately named a Friar as the artist. This was because the look of deep and intense passion on the Duchess’s face always intrigued onlookers. It was clear that they sensed something behind that look other than love for her husband; they would have asked questions about it if only they had the courage. The mention of a Friar’s name helped to check fancies about an affair between the Duchess and the painter.

It was obvious to anyone that the look on her countenance was caused by something more than the mere presence of her husband in the studio. Its joy was so clear and bright. But it might have been caused by a casual remark from the painter; either a suggestion that her mantle should not cover her wrist so much or that it was impossible to reproduce on canvas the faint, evanescent flush that suffused her face. In her case, even such a formal, courteous remark was sufficient to call forth a bush of happiness.

She had an innocent, happy nature that could be pleased easily. Her earnest, impassioned, and yet smiling glance went alike to everyone. She who sent it knew no distinction of things or persons. Everything pleased her; everyone could arouse her gratitude. The same smile lighted her face again when he, her husband, showed her special favour as when some over-zealous fool plucked a branch of the cherry-tree rich with leaves and fruits and presented it to her. The bright sky at sunset or the white mule she rode seemed to arouse the same smile of pleasure too. It seemed to him from her manner of showing her gratitude for such simple things that she ranked his gift the “gift of a nine hundred years’ old name”, with that of everyone else.

Naturally, this outlook filled him with anger that turned soon to disgust. It was beneath his dignity to complain about such things. He could have admonished her and corrected her, and perhaps she would have submitted willingly to his wishes. But this would have meant lowering himself from his wonted dignity. All the time her attitude grew increasingly disgusting. So he decided to act. He gave the necessary orders, and she never smiled again. He put her in a state where she could worry or insult him no more. In plain words he got her killed.

Thus, having told the story of his last Duchess, the Duke turned to more immediate things. First, there was the dowry that his prospective bride was to fetch him: he knew that it would be adequate, coming as it did from such a munificent man as the count. Anyway, his main attraction was the beautiful lady and not the fortune she would bring.

With that, he turned to more down his guest. As a gesture of carelessness, intended to suggest his indifference to such things, he pointed in passing to a rare statute in bronze, the figure of Neptune taming his sea-horse.

Assessment Questions

Choose the correct answer from the three alternatives given below each question :

1. ‘My Last Duchess’ is:

(a) a dramatic monologue

(b) an autobiographical poem

(c) a dramatic lyric

2. ‘My Last Duchess’ was published in :

(a) 1863

(b) 1860

(c) 1842

3. The Speaker in the poem is (a) Duke of Ferrara:

(b) Claus of Innsbruck

(c) Duchess

4. The story of the poem belongs to :

(a) Nineteenth Century

(b) Sixteenth Century

(c) Twentieth Century

5. The Duke, in the poem, is talking to :

(a) the Count

(b) a court official

(c) a messenger

6. The portrait has :

(a) smile on the lips

(b) deep passionate look in the eyes

(c) glow on her face

7. The Duke :

(a) discards the portrait

(b) hates the portrait (c) is justly proud of it

8. The Duke had :

(a) graceful nature

(b) royal nature (c) childish and foolish nature

9. The Duchess was :

(a) unfaithful to her husband

(b) overpowered by her husband

(c) free to enjoy her life

10. The portrait was painted by :

(a) Fra Pandolf

(b) Claus of lunsbruck

(c) Neptune

Answers SAQs

1. (a) dramatic monologue

2. (c) 1842

3. (a) Duke of Ferrara

4. (b) sixteenth century

5. (c) a messenger

6. (b) deep passionate look in the eyes

7. (c) is justly proud of it

8. (c) childish and foolish nature

9. (b) overpowered by her husband

10. (a) Fra Pandolf


In this section, we will let you practice to analyse and appreciate a given text and also to understand poetic devices

Critical Analysis

My Last Duchess was published in Dramatic Lyrics in late November 1842. In the collection of 1849, it was made one of the Dramatic Romances and Lyrics, and in the rearrangement of the poems in 1863, it was put under Dramatic Romances. In the first publications, it was entitled Italy, and it was in the 1849 edition that the present title My Last Duchess was given.

Browning has represented the Duchess as a pathetic, stifled figure, rendered incapable by circumstances of giving expression to her talents and feelings. It has been suggested that it is based somewhat on the life that Elizabeth Barrett, later Mrs. Browning, lived in Wimpole Street. Her talents and passions were stifled by the tyranny of her father.

The Duke is addressing the envoy of a Count whose daughter he is going to marry. He draws his attention to the portrait of his last Duchess, now dead. He calls it a portrait done by Friar Pandolf, and then qualifies his statement with the remarks that he did so by design, because he had noticed that visitors were intrigued by the expression on the Duchess’s face, and almost wanted to ask what caused it. Most of them restrained that curiosity because they dared not wound his feelings.

The Duke means that often people, observing the expressions of passion on the Duchess’s face, were suspicious of an affair between her and the painter. He generally, therefore, attributed the painting to one Friar Pandolf, since a clergyman’s name would remove all suspicion. He was also particular that no one but he drew the curtain to display the portrait.

He remarks on her nature. Instead of understanding her amiable nature, he says that she was a silly childish woman who was readily impressed and pleased. She treated all favours alike with a smile ready for everyone. The Duke tells the envoy that the sweet smiles on the lady’s face were not for her husband alone. The bright redness visible on the lady’s cheeks was very unique. The Duke explains why the portrait of the Duchess has a blush on her cheeks. Many people think that the blush appeared on her cheeks because her husband the Duke was present there when the portrait was being made. The Duke tells the envoy that the blush on her face was not because he was present there. There was some other reason for it, perhaps some compliment by the artist occasioned that happy spot on her face. The artist might have complimented her on her dress. He might have said that her loose cloak covered her wrist too much.

The poem shows us the inside of a typical Renaissance character typified by an unscrupulous and proud Duke. Talking to the envoy of a Count whose daughter he wishes to marry, the Duke shows him the portrait of his previous wife who is dead. He remarks on her nature. Instead of understanding her amiable nature, he says that she was a silly childish woman who was readily impressed and pleased, who treated all favours alike with a smile ready for everyone.

The Duke was annoyed with the Duchess because she did not feel thankful to him for the honour he bestowed on her by marrying her. Even the gifts to her by other people and those given by him made her equally happy. She thanked both with equal warmth. The Duke failed to understand how she could equate his gifts with everybody’s gifts. The Duchess was graceful for the least kindness done to her and when she thanked the people, the Duke, though he did not get angry at that, did not however feel happy. Being absolutely unaffected by such feelings of gratitude towards others, the Duke naturally could not understand or appreciate her attitude.

The Duke did not mind that she thanked people for their good acts. But she did not give him a special treatment while thanking others. He was her husband and belonged to a family of 900 years standing and reputation. He was shocked that she treated him on par with other people. Thus she disgraced his royal name and lineage. It was a mean act by the Duchess. He could have pointed it to the Duchess who might have corrected if she thought it fit. But then he did not like to do that. It would have been his insult had he done so.

The Duke tells the Count’s envoy that the reputation which the Count has for splendid generosity is enough to guarantee that all his claims regarding dowry will be granted. The Duke further clarifies his remarks lest he should be misunderstood. He tells the envoy that even though his first and foremost attraction is the charming daughter of the Count, still he has mentioned about the dowry because he has great faith in the generosity of the Count. While going down he draws the envoy’s attention to a bronze-statue of Neptune-the sea-god. He tells the envoy that this pose of Neptune taming a sea-horse is a rare one. He also informs the envoy that the bronze-statue was made for the Duke by Claus of Innsbruck. The Duke wants the dowry to be worthy of his status, or at least what he considers it to be. It is significant that Browning makes him speak first of the dowry and then of the lady. That shows which is more important to him. Obviously, love has no place in such contracts entered into by him. We expect that in a short while he would treat his second wife in the way he treated the first. The same fate awaits her.

Dramatic Monologue

The Dramatic Monologue was used by Browning with amazing skill and success. Browning did not invent the dramatic monologue, but he made it specially his own, and no one else has ever put such rich and varied material into it.

In other words, he could dispense with all, ‘external machinery’ of action and plot, and concentrate his attention on, “the incidents in the development of a soul”. Unhampered by the limitations of the stage, he could now depict, “the phenomena of the mind”. Browning made this form entirely his own, because it suited his genius, and also because it had a number of other advantages. It is an oblique or indirect mode of expression, and so the poet could freely express his views without fear of hostile criticism. The views were expressed by other characters, and so they could not be imputed to him. Moreover, he knew that advice is given directly, “glances off athwart the mind,” while truths expressed indirectly set men thinking and so have their due effect. The form enabled him to exercise his dramatic bent freely, as well as to play effectively his role as a teacher.

The Dramatic Monologue is, ‘dramatic’, because it is the utterance of imaginary characters and not of the poet himself, and because in it character is developed not through any description on the part of the poet, but through a conflict between the opposite thoughts and emotions of the character himself. It is a ‘monologue’ because it is a conversation of a single individual with himself (Mono’ means ‘one’, and ‘Logue’ means ‘conversation’). The form is also referred to as monodrama.

The salient features of the dramatic monologue are best brought out through comparison and contrast both with the drama proper and the soliloquy. The dramatic monologue differs widely from the drama in its purpose and its method. In the drama the action is external; in the monologue, the action is entirely internal. The thoughts and emotions of the individual character are the actors, and his soul is the stage. The monologue develops character not through outward action and conflict as in the drama, but through the clash of motives in the soul of the speaker, and with this end in view, a moment of crisis is chosen, a movement when his personality is most active.

In each monologue, the speaker is placed in the most momentous or critical situation of his life, and the monologue embodies his reactions to this situation. Unlike a dramatist, Browning does not begin slowly with an action leading to the crisis, rather he plunges headlong into the crisis. For this reason, his monologues have an abrupt, but very arresting opening, and at the same time, what has gone before is suggested clearly or brought out through retrospective meditation and reflection. Thus My Last Duchess opens with a reference to a picture of the dead Duchess, with clear indications that it is being shown to someone. Similarly, Fra Lippo Lippi has a very dramatic beginning. This abrupt beginning is followed by self-introspection on the part of the speaker, and the whole gamut of his moods, emotions, reflections, and meditations is given. The speaker’s thoughts range freely over the past and the future and so there is no logical and chronological development. The past and the future are fused and focused in the present, and the unity is emotional rather than logical.

Form and Style

Browning was always weaving and modeling and inventing new forms. Among all his two hundred to three hundred poems, it would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that there are half as many different verse forms as there are different poems. As soon as a new idea entered his head, he tried to invent a new form to express it, and in this way, he created a large number of quite novel and quite admirable artistic forms. His business was, soul-dissection, and for this purpose, he developed and perfected the dramatic monologue, and used it most effectively.

The poet who invents such forms is a ‘maker’, in the true sense; he makes other poets. Browning was not indifferent to technical beauty, or beauty of form; he invented new forms, lovely in their own way, and it is an entirely different matter that others did not like the kind of beauty he created.

He always has a noble end in view and attains it completely. There is no characteristic of his work more admirable or more rare than the unity, the compactness, and completeness, the skill and care in construction and definiteness in the impression of each poem. For example, almost all the poems in the volume Men and Women are designed, constructed and finished with the skill of an architect. There is no doubt, as that often his composition is broken up and over-crowded. Too many side-issue are introduced, everything that he imagines is cast upon the canvas, there is too little of artistic selecting and ordering of material. But all this seeming lack of selection and restraint is not the result of carelessness, rather such details and digressions are perfectly appropriate in their place and contribute to the perfection of the whole. More often than not, they are integral to the purpose of Browning. They result from the richness of his thought, and not from faulty craftmanship. There is a marvelous sense of proportion in the importance assigned to various features in his dramatic monologues; every element plays a significant but not over-emphasized part: hence the unity of atmosphere and effect.

The beauty of form in poetry also depends on the style and diction of a poet. Browning was a highly original genius, his style is entirely individual, and so for want of a better name, it is called Browning-esque.

He uses the smallest number of words that his meaning allows. In the very beginning of his career, he was once charged with verbosity, and since then, he contended himself with the use of two words where he would rather have used ten. This dread of being diffuse resulted in compression and condensation.

Assessment Questions

Answer the following questions in 6 to 10 sentences :

1. ‘Browning did not invent the Monologue, but he perfected it? Elucidate.
Answer: Dramatic Monologue was not very popular and known to everyone before. Browning used it with intricate skill and perfection. He used this poetic form in critical situations in the life of a character. The reactions of the character are analysed and modified so as to reveal the real worth of the character.

2. Write a note on Browning’s art of characterisation.
Answer: Browning is basically a poet of situations. His poetic characters are varied and wide. His characters are as humane as that of Shakespeare. They belong not only to England but Italy, France, Germany, and Spain. The men and women who live and move in the new world of his creation are lifelike.

3. Comment on Browning’s style.
Answer: The poems of Browning show sparing use of adjectives. He uses mono-syllabic words wherever possible. His style is condensed with the use of abbreviations and omissions. For example, ‘in’, ‘on’ and ‘of’ become ‘i’, ‘o’ in his poetry. His style can be termed as telegraphic style. He uses Latin expressions and allusions to little known sources.

4. Discuss Browning’s diction and versification.
Answer: Browning always seems rugged and fantastic. His ruggedness is justified sometimes by the subject, whereas sometimes the use of a broken. varying, irregular verse is essential to convey the particular emotion or the impression which the poet wants to convey. Browning had a very keen ear for a particular kind of staccate music, for a kind of galloping rhythm. Often his verse sprawls like the trees, dances like the dust, it is top-heavy like the toad-stool. He uses double rhymes to create grotesque effects.

5. Comment on the distinctive features of Browning’s poetry.
Answer: Browning is a very original and skillful poet. He treats consonants as the backbone of his language, and hence, as the essential feature of his rhymes. He uses double and often triple rhymes to create humorous and satirical effects. He uses the measures most appropriate to his subject, whether it be a blank verse or the heroic rhyme verse.

Additional Questions of My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning

1. The poem is written in the first person. What is the name of an extended speech by one speaker to another character?

The poem is a dramatic monologue.

2. The poem’s lines do not end at the end of a line, but rather they continue into the next. What is the term for the use of sentences and other grammatical constructs that do not necessarily conclude at the end of a line?

The term is called enjambment.

3. Describe the Duke’s character.

Answers may vary. Example: He is egotistic and jealous. He was controlling over his last wife and hints that he plans on controlling his future wife as well.

4. To whom is the Duke speaking?

The Duke is speaking to an unseen audience, a servant of another lord whose daughter he is aiming to wed.

5. What is the tone of the poem?

The tone of the poem is one of unintentional revelation. The speaker is revealing, unconsciously, internal character flaws to his audience.

6. According to the speaker, what was it that brought a blush to the Duchess’s cheek?

The speaker says that the Duchess was “too easily impressed.” A kind word or deed from any man would draw a blush to the cheek, and kind words from her mouth, which made the Duke jealous.

7. How did the speaker feel about the Duchess’s behavior? What actions resulted from these feelings?

The speaker, her husband, did not like the fact that she gave the same smile and kind words to others as she did to her husband. After this had gone on for some time, the speaker says he “have commands,” and the “smiles stopped altogether.” Unfortunately, the smiles seemed to stop not only to others, but also to him.

8. Explain the significance of the statue of Neptune alluded to at the poem’s conclusion.

The statue represents the god of the sea taming a sea horse. The statue is meant to reflect the Duke’s own goals of taming his wife and seemingly succeeding, albeit through her death.

Let Us Sum Up

In this unit, you have acquired practice in

• understanding the trends and movements of literature in the Victorian Age.

• analysing and appreciating a poetic text; and

• understanding literary devices used by Robert Browning

Review Questions

1. The Last Duchess’ is a perfect example of Browning’s poetic acumen of writing a dramatic monologue.

2. Comment of the style and form of The Last Duchess


looking: appearance of the pointing

a wonder: a wonderful work of art

worked busily a day: the portrait was painted in one day

look at her: to admire the pointing of Duchess

piece : portrait

Fra Pandolf: the name of the painter who painted the portrait

Fra: from, friar, a monk

earnest : in good sense

By design : intentionally

read: examined carefully

pictured countenance: the face of the last duchess as shown in portrait
puts by: removes

I: the Duke

You: the messenger

seemed: appeared,

as if they durst: if they had the courage to do so

such a glance: you are not the first person to ask

spot of joy: a faint blush caused by pleasure

mantle : cloak

laps : covers

faint half blush: the reddish glow

such stuff: such remarks

were courtesy: they were merely courtesy

calling up: taking meaningless remarks seriously

it was all one: she has no sense of discrimination

too soon made glad: easily pleased

my favour: ornaments given by me

the dropping of daylight: an hour of sunset

officious fool: some foolish admirer of hers

terrace: a raised walk or drive

the approving speech: a few words of appreciation

ranked: considered of the same value

stoop to blame: loss of dignity by criticism foolish conduct

trifling: foolish, childish conduct

your will: your desires

to such a one: to a frivolous childish person like the Duchess

set her wits to yours: at once began discussing

forsooth: at once

made excuses: try to justify her conduct

chuse : choose

passed her: came across her

commands: ordered the duchess not to smile an everyone then all smiles stopped together: this indicates the tragedy

please you rise: will you please get up

the company: meeting

munificence: generosity, liberality

ample warrant: sufficient guarantee

just pretence: reasonable expectation or claim

disallowed : rejected

avowed: said, declared

fair : beautiful

starting: in the beginning

ibject : purpose, desire

Neptune: the sea-god in classical mythology

a rairly: a rare statue

Claus of Innsbruck: an imaginary sculptor

cast: produced

bronze: a metal compounded out of copper and brass

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